Creating An Organization Obsessed With Going Above And Beyond
The following is one of my favorite stories that happened years ago at the first business I opened (and still own today) John Robert’s Spa. It really defined the type of above and beyond organizational culture I want every employee to have.
A client shared a story about the time she walked into one of our salons for her 1 PM manicure appointment. The receptionist said, “We have been trying to contact you all morning because the nail technician who was to do your manicure went home sick.” The client responded, “You had better find me someone who can do my nails because I have an important meeting this afternoon and my nails look horrible. I don’t care who it is, but you had better get someone.” A few minutes later the receptionist returned and said, “I apologize. Unfortunately, we have no one available to do your nails, but we called the salon a few doors away. They have an opening now, so we booked and paid for a manicure with them.”
Above And Beyond Is A Mentality
I have heard many frustrated leaders say, “We have a few employees that go above and beyond all the time for their customers and we have many that never seem to. The ones that don’t say the opportunity never presents itself.”
The truth of the matter is that everyone gets the same number of above and beyond opportunities; the only difference is some employees see the opportunity and act on it, while others fail to see it. To build an above and beyond company culture, you must be proactive about creating awareness, by constantly advertising stories to your employees.
Five Steps To Creating An Above And Beyond Culture
- Empower employees with autonomy and confidence that they can aggressively go the extra mile without being second-guessed by management.
- Train employees to be able to consistently recognize above and beyond opportunities that occur.
- Inspire them on how to think outside the box to provide exceptional positive experiences for the customer.
- Acquire and document all above and beyond stories that happen in your organization.
- Advertise and recognize those stories and employees throughout your entire organization—daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.
Here is the crazy thing: You only have to do three of the five steps.
Steps 4 and 5 take care of steps 2 and 3. When you put systems in place to catch all the above and beyond stories (step 4) and then continuously celebrate and advertise them to everyone in your organization (step 5), you start training your employees where the opportunities exist (step 2), and how to deliver above and beyond service (step 3). The more that happens, the more it gets recirculated and can become self-perpetuating. It becomes positive peer pressure; provided you keep documenting and celebrating.
The above and beyond culture starts with documenting every above and beyond story that you hear from someone in your company. You can’t just hope you find out about these stories; you must solicit them. For example, you need to have communication channels set up that ask and make it easy for employees and customers to share how someone went above and beyond for them. All these stories can be solicited and collected through email, mail, voice mails, social media, or where the customers check out.
Every above and beyond story needs to be stored in one central place, so you can track that they have been reshared company-wide and celebrated. From the master list, you can choose the best above and beyond stories of the month and quarter. Some companies give prizes to these winners. Finally, out of the top stories chosen monthly or quarterly, create an award for the top above and beyond story of the year. This award should be voted on by all employees. This honor meets two objectives. First, it’s a great way to recognize the individual for outstanding heroic service, and second, you are educating and advertising to all your employees about the different opportunities for them to deliver world-class service.
During new employee orientation, share with them your top 10 all-time above and beyond stories. This helps set the tone for the type of customer-obsessed culture they are joining.
When you do all of this, you will see a dramatic increase in the above and beyond stories your employees are executing. Your entire organization will be on a mission to constantly exceed customer expectations.
John R. DiJulius III, author of is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies including Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, PwC, Lexus, and many more. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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